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Health Clubs and Effective Weight Loss

 

Monique Hyacinthe

 

Date:11/15/2005

 

 

 

Intervention topic: health clubs            Large View

 

Physical fitness is an ideal goal for everyone. When a person is a physically fit, he or she is supposedly less likely to get physically ill and they are more likely to have better interpersonal relationships.  Most of the images shown by mainstream media depict happy, healthy people who generally have what is commonly deemed as the “perfect body”. Unfortunately, most people have a difficulty attaining, much less, maintaining these ideal body images. There are many conflicting biopsychosocial factors that keep the majority of the population from keeping physically fit such as commitments to careers and/or families: people simply do not have the money or the spare time to make long-term commitments to eating healthy and adequate exercise on their own.

 

Many people resort to health clubs as an alternative to maintaining a personal schedule of fitness.  Unfortunately, those same people go into any health club with grand expectations of the getting the perfect body in a short a time as one week. And many companies exploit these expectations. Joining a health can be a very effective to losing weight and maintaining persona fitness goals. It is especially helpful when there are memberships available through the workplace; after all, a healthy employee is an effective one, and prevention is more cost effective paying for treatment after illness or injury (Burton et al., 2005). But it is very important that people take the time out to research and finds the fitness center that is credible and one that fits their needs. 

 

The claims: web information about health clubs

 

In our society, there is a great marketing race that bombards people with unrealistic images of what it means to be healthy and beautiful, and they prime people for disappointment and grave financial loss by leading them to believe that they can lose weight. People are encouraged to join effortless weight loss programs and health clubs that make false claims about what results to expect if you join their program. The purpose these programs are to help people successfully lose weight through ineffective, restrictive eating plans every day. It is usually difficult to find independent and unbiased information concerning the claims made by these health programs because the manufactures are the ones making and selling them.

 

For example, the MindXpansion Health Club (http://www.mindxpansion.com/healthclub/) makes claims about helping people to recognize the “imbalances” in their lives and show them how to take steps to restore it. The people who own this company never actually define what would be considered an  imbalance other than a list of general symptoms that a person might experience for any given reason. The claims made this company are entirely vague and circular, claiming that a single toxin named ama is the leading cause of disease and imbalance:  

“You will be able to take our Balance Analysis on a regular bi-monthly basis and receive your custom and personalized Report for Restoring Balance every two months. The best way to achieve balance is to check your state of balance regularly, so that your steps for restoring balance can be continually adjusted to help you achieve balance on an optimal path. Once balance has been achieved, then you will get a free Mind/Body Type Analysis and Nutrition Guide to help you maintain your balanced state. Become a member now and receive many free benefits. Membership is only $5. per month for Natural Health Tips subscribers when you sign up for a year. Annual membership covers a full year of free analyses. If you do your Balance Analysis every two months, you will receive 6 Balance Reports personalized for you. Plus your state of balance is checked on a regular basis so that small adjustments can be made, as necessary, for you to achieve optimum balance. Additionally, once you have achieved balance, you get a free Mind/Body Type Analysis and Nutrition Analysis, personalized for you to help you stay balanced and healthy.”

 

Fitness clubs are widely accessible in major cities, but the type of health club advertised by The MindXpansion company makes false health claims that could very easily lure a person whose tried many passive dieting techniques and gone to various health clubs that have not help them achieve their goals.

           

 
According to another website
(http://www.americansportsdata.com/pr-weightcontrolmanagement.asp) , the gym experience is said to inspire motivation because people who join clubs receive reinforcement from  other members and staff. As well as the incentive to “get our money's worth”. The effectiveness of health clubs comes from the fact that they offer structure and discipline provided by a personal trainer offers a clear edge in the subliminal competition. This type of health club, unlike the one offered by the MindXpansion company, offers direct weight management assistance through weight loss programs, nutritional counseling, fitness evaluation, health education and other programs.

 

Description/ Recap                                      Click to enlarge

 

There is a thriving industry surrounding the general need to be physically fit. Many companies go as far as to claim that they will help people maintain physical as well as mental health. There are many advertisements on the World Wide Web that target people who are desperate to lose weight as quickly as possible. Many of them promise lasting results in just a few days, and the only requirement is that people give lots of personal information for a “small fee” so that the experts can produce a customized workout plan.

 

Here are a couple of links to some of the companies that have made some questionable claims about weight loss and physical fitness: [1] The MindXpansion Health Club (http://www.mindxpansion.com/healthclub/), makes claims about effective and long lasting weight loss in just one week, and [2] and the company at this URL (http://www.initforlife.com/home/WeightLoss.asp) claims they can help people get “thin from within” by focusing on their personality type.

 

Many of these companies make claims about helping restore balance in their lives, and the most of what they have to do pay for subscriptions to receive by paying to receive various materials contain basic information about relaxing, eating healthy and regular exercise. These programs tell people what they already know without helping them to actually achieve it. There is not much information from these websites that is actually scientifically relevant. Even the testimonials are extremely general:

Scientific Literature Review                         Large View

 

The advertisements discussed in the previous sections made claims about helping to lose weight by offering structured management of the external and internal environment through various weight loss management programs. The scientific literature shows that health clubs do help to promote physical fitness, but only when the facilities are carefully managed (Evenson & McGinn, 2004), and participants themselves are willing to practice good hygiene (Waterkevn & Cairncross, 2005).

 

Burton et al. (2005) studied the associations between participation in worksite fitness center and worker productivity. They used productivity measures (through surveys and worker’s claims) and logistic models to control for confounding variables such as age, gender, and work location. They found that worksite fitness center improved worker productivity and fewer short-term disability workdays lost.  Waterkevn & Cairncross (2005) study demonstrates the grave contrast between health conditions in a developed country like the United States and a developing country like Zimbabwe. They studied intervention strategies that would help to create a demand for sanitation in rural communities through community Health Clubs. Club members received training about key hygiene practices (including hand washing) and latrines were built in remote areas; club members without latrines practiced fecal burial, a method previously unknown to them. They found that if a strong community structure is developed (such as the health clubs) and the norms of a community are altered, sanitation and hygiene behavior are likely to improve.  

 

Evenson & McGinn (2004) did a cross-sectional study concerning reasons why most school facilities were not made available to the public, and the barriers and benefits associated with having facilities available. They conducted a telephone survey or visited schools located in four US geographic locations. They found that some reasons that facilities were not made available for the public included: for student use only, supervision and personnel requirements, safety concerns, insurance, liability, and a private or church-owned status. They concluded that safety, insurance, and liability concerns are barriers that need to be addressed with schools before indoor and outdoor facilities can be made available to the public. Furthermore, emphasizing the benefits such as providing a space to keep youth active and good publicity for the school would also be important.  Finally, Igarashi et al. (2004) compared the efficacy of the Japanese national standard alone (control) with the standard plus exercise at a fitness club (intervention) for the reduction of CVD risk factors. In the Sapporo Fitness Club Trial (SFCT), relatively inactive overweight recruits were randomized.  The intervention group was required to exercise at a fitness club 2-4 times per week. After six months, measurements are to be taken of risk factors, aerobic capacity, and health-related quality of life measures and adverse effects are to be compared. The SFCT is expected to have a major impact in Japan on public health recommendations on exercise for the reduction of lifestyle-related disease.

 

These scientific articles support the notion that health clubs do help people to lose weight and maintain physical fitness (Igarashi et al., 2004). At the same time, there are some basic concerns that are addressed concerning the standard management of health facilities. As stated earlier, there are a lot of companies that thrive people’s failure and so they lure people in with exaggerated claims of quick effortless weight loss. So people who do chose to join a health club should definitely assess their personal fitness goals and find a health program that is most fitting (see the additional web links at the end of this report).

 

 

 

References                                                                      

 

Burton, WN., McCalister, KT., Chen, CY., Edington, DW. (2005). The association of health status, worksite fitness center participation, and two measures of productivity. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 47(4):343-51

Evenson KR, McGinn AP. (2004) Availability of school physical activity facilities to the public in four U.S. communities. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18(3):243-50.

 

Igarashi K, Fujita K, Yamase T, Morita N, Okita K, Satake K, Kanazawa N, Nishijima H. (2004). Sapporo Fitness Club Trial (SFCT)--design, recruitment and implementation of a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of exercise at a fitness club for the reduction of cardiovascular risk factor. Circ Journal, .68(12):1199-204.

 

Waterkeyn J, Cairncross S. (2005). Creating demand for sanitation and hygiene through Community Health Clubs: A cost-effective intervention in two districts in Zimbabwe. Soc Sci Med, 61(9):1958-70



Additional websites                              

 

Weight loss in 21st century:

http://www.always-health.com/WeightLoss5.html

 

Something that is supposed to be good for you is regular exercise and eating right: (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/health/setgoals.htm).

 

A lot of health advertisements for products claiming to help a person lose weight quickly are fraudulent, so a good place go for information is the federal trade commission:

(http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/fitness/index.html) (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-health.htm).

 

Facts about choosing a health club:

http://www.fact-sheets.com/health/choosing_health_club/

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/consumer/tips/choosing_health_club.html

 

Modifying personal health:

http://www.personalhealthzone.com/fitsports.html

http://www.personalhealthzone.com/labels.html

 

 

 

 

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